Za'Cari's Graduation Photo

A Grace of New Beginnings

Good evening everyone, my name is Za’Cari Bland. This evening marks the start of new beginnings for me, but I can not continue my path without first acknowledging my “new beginnings” or opportunities as a City Academy student.

I had a unique experience as a student at City Academy and in the beginning, thought of it as a disadvantage. While most students started school at the beginning of the school year, my beginnings at this great place, started midway through my first grade year. Expectations were already established, rigor was enforced and friendships had been bonded. For me, I was the girl on the other side of the wall trying to find my way. I was in despair, empty and isolated. The somber emotions quickly came to past. Soon, I realized that I had a chance at something new. The grace of new beginnings. A chance to make friends and to be a friend, a chance to welcome new challenges, a chance to take risks, a chance at finding my purpose and last but not least, a chance at striving for excellence.

At the start of my time at City Academy, I didn’t quite know how to take on the thought of “new beginnings”. The beginning of me learning how to write, learning how to read, or how to study, the beginning of me learning how to exhibit compassion, and, the beginning of me accepting failure.

I am thrilled for my beginnings, as they have prepared me for new beginnings. I appreciate every bit of preparation City Academy has bestowed upon me. From having to owe my recess so I can learn responsibility and accountability, to being told we’re leaders of the school about 20 times a day and taking a leadership class to help prepare me for my time here and my next beginning. Every punishment, every redirection or every reprimand I didn’t agree with in the beginning, but now it all finally makes sense. Because of you City Academy; the good and the bad, I am proud to say I’m starting my new beginnings at Lutheran North Middle in the fall.

A special thank you to my stepfather and my grandmother. And to my mom, thank you for finding my “new beginning” and supporting me every step of the way.

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